Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty, more formally known as Liberty Enlightening the World, stands in New York Harbor as a welcome to all: returning Americanss, visitors, and immigrants alike.

The pedestal was constructed by the United States and the copper statue showing the goddess of Liberty was a present by France, as a centennial gift and a sign of friendship between the two nations. The Statue of Liberty is often used as a symbol that personifies the entire nation of America, much like Uncle Sam.

Table of contents
1 Description
2 History
3 Smaller copies
4 See also
5 Reference
6 External links

Description

The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, some 3 kilometers south-west of the southern tip of Manhattan.

The goddess of liberty holds a torch in her right hand and a tablet in her left. The tablet shows the caption "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI", the day of the Declaration of Independence. One of her feet stands on chains.

The height from ground to the tip of the torch is 93 meters; this includes the foundation and the pedestal. The height of the statue itself is 46.5 meters.

The statues was built from thin copper plates hammered into wooden forms. The formed plates were then mounted on a steel skeleton.

The statue is normally open to visitors, who arrive by ferry and can climb up into her crown, which provides a broad view of New York Harbor. One can also climb up to the balcony of the torch. A museum in the pedestal--accessible by elevator--presents the history of the statue. [The statue and island were closed in the aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center; as of 2003, only the grounds of Liberty Island are open again for visitation; the Monument, museum, crown, and all outdoor observation decks are still closed.]

The Emma Lazarus poem "The New Colossus" was written for the statue, and is engraved on the pedestal. In its famous culminating lines, Liberty says

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

History

French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture with the year 1876 in mind for completion, to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. It was agreed upon that in a joint effort the American people were to build the pedestal, and the French people were responsible for the Statue and its assembly here in the United States. However, lack of funds was a problem on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In France, public fees, various forms of entertainment, and a lottery were among the methods used to raise funds. In the United States, benefit theatrical events, art exhibitions, auctions and prize fights assisted in providing needed funds. Meanwhile in France, Bartholdi required the assistance of an engineer to address structural issues associated with designing such a colossal copper sculpture. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower) was commissioned to design the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework which allows the Statue's copper skin to move independently yet stand upright.

Back in America, the site, authorized in New York harbor by Act of Congress, 1877, was selected by General William Tecumseh Sherman, who settled on Bartholdi's own choice, Bedloe's Island, where there was already an early 19th-century star-shaped fortification.

Fund raising for the pedestal was going particularly slowly, so Joseph Pulitzer (noted for the Pulitzer Prize) opened up the editorial pages of his newspaper, The World, to support the fund raising effort. Pulitzer used his newspaper to criticize both the rich who had failed to finance the pedestal construction and the middle class who were content to rely upon the wealthy to provide the funds. Pulitzer's campaign of harsh criticism was successful in motivating the people of America to donate.

Financing for the pedestal, designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt, was completed in August 1885, the cornerstone was laid on August 5, and pedestal construction was finished in April 22, 1886. When the last stone of the pedestal was swung into place the masons reached into their pockets and showered into the mortar a collection of silver coins.

Built into the pedestal's massive masonry are two sets of four iron girders, connected by iron tie beams that are carried up to become part of Eiffel's framework for the statue itself. Thus Liberty is integral with her pedestal.

The Statue was completed in France in July, 1884 and arrived in New York Harbor in June of 1885 on board the French frigate Isere which transported the Statue of Liberty from France to the United States. In transit, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. The Statue was re-assembled on her new pedestal in four months time. On October 28, 1886, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty by US President Grover Cleveland took place in front of thousands of spectators. She was a centennial gift ten years late.

US President Franklin Roosevelt rededicated the Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary (October 28, 1936).

In 1984, the Statue of Liberty was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Extensive renovations were performed before the statue's centennial in 1986, including a new gold layer on the torch, which now shines over New York Harbor at night. The Statue of Liberty was reopened to the public on July 5 after this extensive refurbishing.

Smaller copies

The Statue of Liberty copy on the river Seine in Paris, France. Given to the city in 1885, it faces west, towards the original Liberty in New York.

A smaller-scale copy of the Statue of Liberty is placed in Paris, France, where it stands on an island in the river Seine, looking down the river, towards the Atlantic Ocean and hence towards its "larger sister" in New York.

Another replica is at Las Vegas resort hotel casino New York New York. It stands including the pedestral about perhaps 5 stories high. See photo here [[1]

Another replica is the Bordeaux Statue of Liberty. This 2.5-meter (8-foot) statue is found in the city of Bordeaux in Southwest France . The first Bordeaux statue was taken down and melted by the Germans in World War II. The statue was replaced in 2000 and a plaque was added to commemorate the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. On the night of March 25, 2003, unknown vandals poured red paint and gasoline on the replica and set it on fire. The vandals also cracked the pedestal of the plaque honoring victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The mayor of Bordeaux, former prime minister Alain Juppe, condemned the attack.

During the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989, Chinese student demonstrators in Beijing built a 10-meter version of the Statue of Liberty to symbolize their struggle. They called it the Goddess of Democracy.

A small Statue of Liberty is also a well-known symbol of the Amerika-mura (American Village) shopping district in Osaka, Japan.

See also

Reference

  • National Park Service (public domain text)

External links


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